Georgian cuisine in Soviet Union was always viewed as something like French cooking in Western Europe. Or perhaps more like Tuskan leaning Italian actually.
Sophisticated, exquisite, generous. Both hugely desired and, well, envied.
I find it quite curious that these days too Georgian flavours are raved by journalists and writers alike. The non-Russians visiting Russia in an attempt to say something positive about local fare, talk of Georgian restaurants. as a kind of gastronomical nirvana. I can’t blame them entirely really. Abundance of vegetables and herbs, grilled meats, liberal use of nuts, and, lush Georgian wine signified hospitality. Somehow Georgian food could be made by men and enjoyed by men.
We will be serving Georgian wine at our upcoming Dacha PopUp at South Bank and to compliment the drink we have come up with out little take on good old meatloaf.
Zapekanka in Russian. Here packed with beetroot, prunes, walnuts, cumin and fresh coriander. And topped with Borodinsky bread and walnut crumb.
Beautifully eaten either hot out of the oven or room temperature for a picnic.
Note on the Borodinsky crumb. It is not essential but definitely adds a layer of complexity. If you can’t get of the bread, you can make own like for an apple crumble but use rye flour and add extra coriander seed. Make lots extra and keep in a fridge or freezer, goes well with lots of other meaty flavour or amazing with baked aubergine or pumpkin soup.
* Thank you Pille of my dear Estonian blog Nami Nami for the root idea for this recipe. Pille’s beetloaf.
What you will need:
- For the crumb:
- loaf of Borodinsky bread
- 50 gr soft brown sugar
- 100 gr chopped walnuts
- 10 gr coriander seeds, ground in pestle and mortal
- For the loaf:
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 400 gr of minced lamb (ideally 20% fat, shouldn't be too lean)
- 2 small cooked beetroots, grated
- 8 prunes (stoned), chopped
- 5 Tbs breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbs cumin
- 3/4 Tbs coriander seeds crushed in pestle and mortal
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 30 gr walnuts, ground
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
What to do
- For the crumb:
- Wizz bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs
- In a large bowl mix with sugar and walnuts
- Store in a air tight container (in a fridge will last for a month)
- For the meatloaf:
- Turn the oven to 200C fan assisted
- Line a bread tin with oiled parchment paper
- In a large bowl mix the rest of the ingredients well
- Transfer the mixture to the tin and level with a spoon roughly
- Boil a kettle of water, transfer the tin to a large roasting tin
- Pour boiling water into the roasting tin to bake bain marie
- Cook in the oven for 30 mins, then take the top foil off and sprinkle rye crumb on top (I measured about 80-100 gr, so quite literally)
- Put back into the oven for another 10-15 mins.